John S., by counsel J.B. Rees, appeals the Circuit Court of
Fayette County's December 1, 2015, order summarily
denying his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Respondent Ralph
Terry, acting warden, by counsel Shannon Frederick Kiser,
filed a response. On appeal, petitioner argues that West
Virginia Code § 53-4A-4 is facially unconstitutional.
Court has considered the parties' briefs and the record
on appeal. The facts and legal arguments are adequately
presented, and the decisional process would not be
significantly aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of
the standard of review, the briefs, and the record presented,
the Court finds no substantial question of law and no
prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision
affirming the circuit court's order is appropriate under
Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.
of 2013, petitioner was convicted of eighteen counts of
sexual abuse and sexual assault. Ultimately, petitioner was
sentenced to an aggregate term of 95 to 340 years of
incarceration. Petitioner appealed his conviction, and we
affirmed the same. State v. John S., No. 13-0780,
2014 WL 2682873 (W.Va. June 13, 2014)(memorandum decision).
of 2014, petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas
corpus, which the circuit court denied. Petitioner appealed
the denial, and this Court affirmed the same. John S. v.
Ballard, No. 14-1184, 2015 WL 5331822 (W.Va. Sept. 11,
2015)(memorandum decision). Thereafter, petitioner filed a
second petition for writ of habeas corpus. By order entered
on December 1, 2015, the circuit court again denied the
petition without the holding of an omnibus hearing or
appointment of counsel. It is from the order denying his
second petition for writ of habeas corpus that petitioner
Court reviews appeals of circuit court orders denying habeas
corpus relief under the following standard:
"In reviewing challenges to the findings and conclusions
of the circuit court in a habeas corpus action, we apply a
three-prong standard of review. We review the final order and
the ultimate disposition under an abuse of discretion
standard; the underlying factual findings under a clearly
erroneous standard; and questions of law are subject to a
de novo review." Syllabus point 1, Mathena
v. Haines, 219 W.Va. 417, 633 S.E.2d 771 (2006).
Syl. Pt. 1, State ex rel. Franklin v. McBride, 226
W.Va. 375, 701 S.E.2d 97 (2009).
appeal, petitioner's sole argument is that because West
Virginia Code § 53-4A-4 grants circuit courts discretion
in appointing attorneys for habeas proceedings, it is
facially unconstitutional pursuant to the United States
Supreme Court of Appeals decision of Martinez v.
Ryan, 566 U.S. 1 (2012). According to petitioner,
Martinez mandates the appointment of counsel in all
habeas proceedings. We do not agree. The Supreme Court in
Martinez addressed whether a procedural
rule, known as the doctrine of procedural default, barred a
state prisoner from asserting the claim of ineffective
assistance of trial counsel in a federal habeas proceeding
after his habeas attorney failed to raise it in the earlier
state proceeding. Id. at 4-5. In ruling on this
issue, the Supreme Court reiterated that, as a matter of
constitutional law, "there is no right to counsel in
collateral proceedings." Id. at 9. As the
Supreme Court's decision in Martinez did not
hold that appointment of counsel was required in habeas
proceedings, we find that petitioner's reliance on that
decision is misplaced.
foregoing reasons, we affirm.
CONCURRED IN BY: Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman Justice
Robin Jean Davis Justice Menis E. Ketchum Justice Allen H.
Loughry II Justice Elizabeth D. Walker